Geico Sues Google & Overture: The PPC Trademark Debate

May 19, 2004 • 8:54 am | comments (0) by | Filed Under Legal Issues in Search

Pay Per Clicks and trademark lawyers are spending a lot of time together these days. I have posted several times on the trademark topic and brought several cases in the past. The latest news is that Geico sues Google, Overture over trademarks.

The insurer charged the two companies with infringing on its trademarks when they sold them as keywords to Geico's rivals, so that the protected terms could appear in sponsored search results. According to the suit, that practice causes consumer confusion, in violation of the Lanham Act, the primary federal law covering trademark registration and protection.


Previously, Google had granted requests from advertisers, including 1-800 Contacts and eBay, to bar competitors from bidding on their trademarked names. Google will now only review trademark complaints that relate to text appearing in sponsored listings on its Web site and those of its partners.

According to Geico's complaint, the insurer considered Google's policy change before pursuing legal action: "Google's recent change in trademark policy constitutes a deliberate decision to use the registered trademarks of other companies, including Geico, for the financial benefit of Google and to the detriment of (others)."

Don't you just love this stuff. We need a legal ruling already. Trademarks need to be protected and I personally do not thing Google's current policy is going to cut it.

Forum coverage at:

Thank you Doug from Aderit Internet Marketing Consulting for the tip.

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